Carrying A Gun At Hartsfield Airport Will Get You Stopped: AR-15 Owner From Georgia Spotlights Harassment

Apparently, a police department in Georgia didn’t get the memo about a new open carry law passed in the state last year that does not bar airport access, according to a New York Daily News report.

Second Amendment Rights advocate Jim Cooley entered Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport recently with three things dear to him: his wife, daughter, and AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle — with a hundred-round magazine, mind you.

By the way, it’s perfectly legal now to carry a gun at an airport in the state; it’s peachy, you might say. However, Cooley is outraged over what he calls “harassment” by Atlanta police officers who he suggests are not familiar with the gun law’s passage.

“People think that if you’re simply carrying your firearm, regardless of how you’re carrying it, you’re a bad person,” he told the News Wednesday morning. “But if you’re not carrying it in a menacing or threatening manner, it should be no cause for concern for anybody.”

In this post-911 era, it’s unsettling to many people the sight of someone carrying a gun openly in an airport — or any other place, for that matter, especially when they’re not law enforcement. However, The Winder resident, who hails from Chicago, is well within his right to bear arms openly, even at one of the world’s busiest airports.

The man rose to fame — and infamy — last week when he posted photos and videos of him encountering airport police over his right to carry a gun, and not be detained or even questioned by officers of the law.

In one of the videos, he is off-camera talking to a female officer who confronts him over the visible rifle. In another, he is approached by an airport fire marshal. And finally, in another video, the gun-toting man gets into a verbal exchange with several cops while he open-carries the gun to his vehicle in the parking lot.

Just last month, the Texas Senate passed a bill that made it legal to carry handguns in public places. The Texas open carry legislation was passed by a vote of 20-11.

All told, both legislative Republican-controlled bodies have signaled approval for licensed owners to carry handguns in plain view. Next week, Governor Greg Abott plans to sign the bill into law, which would roll back the 140-year-old ban.

Many critics fear guns in public places like airports will cause accidental shootings and public hysteria. Others think it will deter crime.

On his right to carry a gun at an airport, the man suggested it’s his birthright. Still, it requires many to be “re-educated.”

“Why should anyone come up to me and ask me why I’m doing something I have the right to do? It’s like asking you, ‘Why are you breathing?'”

[Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images]

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